This past weekend we decided to head out to Santa Cruz Island, we'd been watching the weather all week and were a bit concerned about the hurricane brewing off the coast of Mexico. The local weather stations were making all kinds of dramatic predictions about surf conditions and flash floods and Keith and I were a little worried about having to deal with too much weather. At the marina where we keep the boat, they were hosting their annual rendezvous and many folks had declared they weren't going due to the weather. Keith and I kept monitoring daily and decided to go for it, our biggest concern being sick kiddos since the wind prediction was near zero. We had Mason's buddy Tyler on board and all six of us, along with Molly, headed out early on Saturday morning expecting to motor sail a good portion of the way. The wind didn't show up at all and we pulled into Prisoners Harbor well before noon. The anchorage was pretty full, with many boats already packed into the "prime" spots for traditional NW weather. Fortunately we were dealing with nothing close to normal, the hurricane and swell pushing in from the south meant that almost anyplace was a good spot to anchor. We settled in about 40 feet of water between two other boats of comparable size and kicked back on deck.
With the teens still asleep below we debated heading on shore but decided to just chill on anchor a bit. Loren and Elliot were busting to get off the boat and explore so we suited them up in wetsuits and dropped them off at the beach to snorkel on their own. The weather was moist and sticky and eventually Mason and Tyler woke and were ready to get off the boat themselves. They set off to check out the beach - in the opposite direction from the younger ones! Eventually the little guys got bored with the beach and waved to come back on the boat so we scooped them up and they had fun for awhile jumping off the side of the boat, playing catch in the water with the football and just hang'n out. After a bit we collected the teens and watched the clouds form as folks who had gone to shore for the rendezvous potluck started streaming back to their boats a little earlier then the planned finish time of 4pm. Both Keith and I looked at the clock and shrugged it off then decided to head to shore and explore on our own, chatting briefly with a local Navy guy who was wondering if we were going to weigh anchor and head out too. Keith and I debated heading back, wondering what weather we might be missing but opted to keep heading down the beach just as a crack of thunder was heard overhead. I looked out on the water and saw rain heading our way so we quickly headed back to the boat to shut all the wide open hatches and listen to the weather on the radio. The weather station said there was a lot of activity expected on the mainland but nothing too much where we were at and we decided that sailing INTO a storm didn't hold much appeal. The sky continued it's deluge, with intermittent cracks of thunder off in the distance as we hunkered down on board and ate an early dinner.
Soon enough the sky overhead cleared as it moved inland and we headed off for a hike up the hill to the Nature Conservancy permit only side of the island where we got some great photos overlooking the cove and the kids all got to see the Island Fox. That night we played games before packing it in early for another early wake up to head further up the coast to check out The Painted Cave.
Six thirty in the morning and we weighed anchor on an ocean smoother then many lakes I've sailed on. We made good time heading the additional 10+ miles up the coast to see the famous Painted Cave. As we got within a few minutes we again woke the teens and they waited while Keith took Loren and Elliot into the cave in the dinghy - they weren't gone very long and it wasn't until I went into the cave myself that I realized why. Dark, stinky and spooky sounds are the stuff of nightmares. Even Molly, who went with Keith and I, tried to bury under Keith's jacket to hide from all the spookiness! Everyone seemed to enjoy and yet be a little freaked out by the cave, overall a fun stop over before heading back to the mainland.
The trip back was uneventful. Zero wind and flat water saw us motoring at near 8 knots to get into the harbor in the early afternoon.
I'm the wife of the captain, a mother of three boys and a PM in the corporate world. This blog is my view of life and activities related to our boat.